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Hotel Review-Aston Mahana at Kaanapali (Maui)

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Aston Mahana at Kannapali
Maui, Hawaii

When it came time to choosing our hotel in Maui I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the options. Although it would have been easy to have selected the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons, both hotels were a “bit” out of my price range, so the task came of finding more reasonably priced accommodations that were still above average. I booked our trip to Maui through United Airlines Vacations (this included our hotel stay, airline tickets, and car rental). We got an incredible deal and saved a lot by bundling our three things into one package. I ended up selecting the Aston Mahana at Kaanapali because one, it was a very good price, two, it had excellent ratings on TripAdvisor and was featured in Fodors Maui 2011 guidebook, and three, all rooms are oceanfront. In case you’re not familiar, Aston is a hotel chain mainly in Hawaii, although they also have properties in the western United States.

As is the case with many tourist accommodations on Hawaii, the Mahana comprises condos (some privately owned), and managed by the Aston Hotel company. What this means is that you’ll pay cheaper rates and have in your room amenities such as a full kitchen (refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher) and a washer and dryer. The Mahana is located right across the street from one of the island’s supermarkets, Times, so it was great being able to purchase light groceries such as cereal, milk, yogurts, bread, and lunch meats. One of my favorite things about the Mahana was being able to eat breakfast and lunch out on the balcony with views of the ocean and the neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai.

I had booked a studio since it was only the two of us, although they also offer one and two bedroom suites. I found our room to be extremely spacious. In addition to the bed there was also a small futon you could extend from its sofa position to the foldout position. I did upgrade us to a premium room which cost $25 extra a night. From what I read, premium rooms have been upgraded more recently and have stainless steel appliances. While it was a very nice room, I’m not sure it if was worth the extra money. Our room was on the fifth floor and I read premium rooms were usually located on the higher levels.

In Hawaii, the daily resort fee is the norm and one of the reasons I liked the Mahana so much was that theirs was only $10 (USD) a day while resorts like Marriott and Sheraton charge $25 USD a day. Although I think it’s a bit of a rip off to charge something that other hotels around the world don’t, it “includes” in-room coffee and tea (I never saw any tea), daily newspaper,  and the in-room safe, (although you had to pay extra for the key to the safe which I thought was extremely tacky). The only worthwhile feature of the fee was a PlayStation 2 game console to play DVDs and video games available from a  kiosk located in the lobby area. You could rent two DVDs or video games at time and borrow them for approximately a day. Many of the movies were new to DVD so it was a great way to relax  by watching them after a busy day out. Parking is free at the Mahana but at the other resorts I mentioned above, parking costs are usually in addition to the resort fee, so I guess $10 in the scheme of things isn’t too bad.

There is no restaurant on site. However, there is a food stand that offers light fare such as breakfast items (breakfast burritos and muffins) and lunch items that include cold deli sandwiches and hot dogs. You can also get a variety of hot beverages along with smoothies and of course, the quintessential Hawaiian treat, shaved ice. A sister property to the Aston (Kaanapali Shores), located two hotels down  does have a restaurant and Mahana guests receive 10% off their bill. We ate there our first night as we were extremely tired and didn’t want to have to venture too far for food.

The Mahana consists of two buildings with the lobby and pool areas in the middle. The pool was small but it was never crowded while we were there, although I can imagine during Maui’s busy season when the hotel is much more full, that could be a problem. Outside there was also a hot tub, shuffle board court, and multiple barbecue grills. On our last day there, a family was grilling hamburgers and had we stayed longer I definitely would have looked into doing some grilling, for it smelled delicious.

There is daily maid service which includes trash removal, bed makeup, and changing of towels. On every fourth day that you’re there, a more complete cleaning is done.

Although you can’t swim directly in front of the hotel due to coral reefs being there, it is only a short walk to either the right or left where you can find optimal swimming conditions. We had our daily walk on the beach but never swam in the water along Kaanapali Beach. (We did swim in the ocean when we went on our snorkeling expedition.) Towels for the pool and beach are provided at the front desk.

All in all, the Mahana was a great place to stay and certainly right for the money. It’s nothing luxurious but the ocean front rooms are priceless.

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